We first discovered Ashley Baluyut when she submitted an entry to Refinery29's recent "Next Big Style Blogger," and were not a bit surprised when her blog, Milk Teeths, took home the grand prize. This SoCal native with an incredible eye for thrift store finds has a chic, laid-back sense of style, and is a great writer to boot. We couldn't wait to learn more about what makes her world go 'round in our latest installment of Blog Love.
StyledOn: Tell us a little about yourself – how did you get into blogging?
Ashley Baluyut: I suppose I've been “blogging” in some form or another ever since I was 13 or so. Back then I would just blog about the mundane details of my day-to-day existence, entries dripping with teenage angst and all that jazz. Fast forward 9 years and I’m still at it—the only thing that's changed is that I now show off my outfits. Oh, and I keep the angst to a minimum (thankfully).
SO: You recently won Refinery29’s Next Big Style Blogger award – what was that experience like?
AB: I did! The experience was very rewarding because I really pushed myself to create work that I thought was unique in its point of view and voice. When it comes to writing, I'm a notorious perfectionist so even though the posts that I had to turn in had word counts of 300 or less, it would take me forever to craft just the right sentence or find the perfect word to describe something. Besides this, it was also a nerve-wracking experience! A camera crew flew down to Orange County and filmed me for two days so I always felt like I had bring my A game.
SO: Do you have any big plans or goals for your blog this year?
AB: Not really. I'm just going to keep on keeping on. So far so good!
SO: You also run a vintage Etsy shop – how did that come about, and where do you find the pieces you sell?
AB: It came about my third year of college. I didn't have a job and was desperate to make a little bit of money and then one day it just dawned on me: I should sell clothes on etsy. I was already thrifting at least once a week by that point so the idea made a lot of sense. It's hard, though, because the clothing I sell in my store are pieces that I would totally wear so parting with items can be difficult. If an item doesn't appeal to my taste or aesthetic, no matter how vintage or old it may be, it's not going into the shop. As far as where I buy my clothes, good old thrift stores! It's very therapeutic to spend time inside a thrift store and just mindlessly thumb through the racks until a treasure presents itself. I love the hunt.
SO: You seem to have incredible luck in thrift shops. Do you have any thrifting advice or tips for those of us who aren’t experts at it?
AB: I have tons! Firstly, go often. At least once a week. Stores constantly get new merchandise in so if you're convinced you have rotten luck at thrift stores, think again. Secondly, look in every section, especially sleepwear. Thrift store employees often aren't vintage experts so what looks like a nightgown to them might in actuality be a beautiful 1960s baby doll dress. Third, be thorough when you inspect a garment, make sure zippers zip, buttons are sewn tight, and that the armpits aren't stained! The last one always gets me. A good tip for yellow underarms is to squeeze a lemon onto the stain and let the garment sit out in the sun. Works like a charm.
SO: If you could collaborate with anyone on a creative project, who and what would it be?
AB: Costuming Wes Anderson's next movie. The man can do little wrong in my eyes. The aesthetic he has created is so up my alley and it would be a dream to be able to work with him.
SO: What is the most treasured item in your closet?
AB: Anything that my grandma has made for me. She's made everything from my little party dresses I would wear when I was 6 to my senior prom dress. She's a real talent.
SO: What’s at the top of your wishlist right now?
AB: A nice pair of brown or black leather lace up boots with the skinny fit ankle. Striped socks in every color combination imaginable. Everything inside Madewell.
SO: We love your blog and read it on a regular basis. Which blogs do you read the most?
AB: Thanks! I like blogs that give the reader a glimpse into that person's life (it feeds the inner voyeur that lurks just beneath the surface) so currently I really love Bleubird Vintage, Blushing Ambition, and Liebemarlene Vintage to name a few.
SO: Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect.
AB: I'm fluent in Kapangpangan (a Filipino dialect), understand but can't speak Tagalog, and can speak Spanish conversationally. I'd like to learn French next!
Are you loving Ashley's style?